Title- Professing To Be A Buddhist


Taking refuge in the Triple Gem by reciting “Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami, Samgham saranam gacchami” with conviction and wisdom in front of a Buddha statue or a pagoda or a bhikkhu is the first step to become a Buddhist. If there is no Buddha statue, pagoda or bhikkhu, one may take refuge in the Triple Gem by oneself by reciting the above formula. Being established in the Triple Gem is the first step to become one established in the right view. So it is very important. The recitation of the above formula can be in any language. But reciting in Pali, the words of the Buddha (Buddha bhasita) is more effective and more beneficial to one who take refuge in the Triple Gem. In taking up the life of a Buddhist one needs not be ceremonious, one may just recite the Pali words silently without any ceremony and without letting other people know about it. Conviction is more important than holding a ceremony.

As the Myanmar saying goes: “Nothing can be gained without paying a resonable price” the genuine sacred refuge cannot be gained without the right conviction and the right understanding. We should begin with Conviction first. Then we shall find more and more to believe in. But Buddhism does not insist on believing blindly. It encourages one to investigate with intelligence what one has put one’s faith in. Only then can one attain the right view (Sammaditthi). In order to gain the right view one has to associate with wise persons (Sappurisupanissaya), one has to listen and study the Pali Texts (Saddhammasavana), one has to ponder carefully and reasonably (Yonisomanasikara), and one should avoid dogmatism and favoritism.

The above mentioned facts help one to gain the right view. Blind faith is the foolish belief which amounts to a kind of demerit. It is different from true conviction (Saddha). Indeed conviction can straighten one’s view. Therefore both wisdom and conviction are factors which straighten up one’s view, and so they are known as “Ditthijukamma”.

Thus conviction associated with wisdom is the most precious possession of a human being in this world. The term “Faith” (or Conviction) used in Buddhism is quite different from the term “Faith” used outside the Buddha’s Teachings (Sasana).

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